Flotilla set for today at Lake St. John

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 6, 2001

LAKE ST. JOHN, La. – Anything that floats your boat – and can maintain parade speed – can be entered in today’s Blessing of the Flotilla on Lake St. John.

The annual flotilla starts at 2 p.m. on the north end of the lake, and everything from pontoon boats to jet skis can take part in the parade.

The parade will be led by Concordia Parish Sheriff Randy Maxwell, Grand Marshal Victor Cross and Flotilla Queen Betty Grace Loomis, sister of 2000 Flotilla Queen Norma Jean Price.

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&uot;It’s the biggest thing we have on the lake – no telling how many boats will enter this year,&uot; Price said Friday, the day she was crowned as queen at a ball held at The Dock. &uot;There could be 100 boats on the lake.&uot;

Then Price was off to finish preparing mounds of food for family members who gathered at her house to cheer her on during the weekend’s festivities.

In addition to drawing cheers from those who crowd onto the lake’s piers to see the parade, vessels can compete in three categories:&160;patriotic, non-patriotic and small craft. The overall winner will receive the coveted Flotilla Champion Life Ring.

And the Rev. Alfred Camp of St. Mary Minor Basilica in Natchez and the Rev. Anthony Bharmaraj of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Ferriday will bless the boats with holy water.

All boats will be eligible for special drawings, including cash drawings for boats passing designated piers, and other prize drawings will be held throughout the event.

Late registration for boats entering the flotilla will be from 9 a.m. to noon today at Spokane Marina.

Judging for the pier decorating contest will start at 1 p.m. today. The first-place pier winner will receive the Pier Champion Life Ring, and entries will also be eligible for door prize drawings.

Those decorating piers for the contest must register, pay a $5 fee and pick up a pier number at Spokane Marina by noon today.

The River 107.1 FM will broadcast live from the event. The day will end with a fireworks display at 9 p.m. at the lake.

This year, a &uot;Flotilla Sale Boat&uot; will be sailing the lake Friday afternoon and Saturday before and after the parade, selling Flotilla 2001 T-shirts, tank tops, drink &uot;huggies&uot; and 2001 Flotilla posters designed by artist Ashlee Hammett.

Items can also be bought in advance at The Dock, The Duck’s Nest, Lakeside Mart and Rami’s beauty salon, said Flotilla Committee President Penny Hammett.

Major sponsors for this year’s event include The Sports Center/Rex Sporting Goods, The Dock, 107.1 The River, Waste Management, Access Travel & Cruise, Centennial Wireless, Marsala Beverage-Budweiser and the Community of Lake St. John.